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July Issue

Self-Defence Workshops Held for Students: In a time of need, the Student’s Union organizes self-defence workshops

Vasanthi Pillai, III Year B.A. Economics.

19th July: Safety and Security being the key issue in today’s world, self defence mechanisms have become extremely essential and thus Stella Maris College initiated the first self-defence workshop in campus for its students. This workshop was conducted by Mr.Davis Thomas a well-known mentor, specialised in karate, who works with Budokai. The session was held at the OAT from 9:45am to 10:05am and it engaged students in identifying exercises and postures that strengthened the core segments of the body. Mr.Davis also taught techniques to escape forceful hand clutching with appropriate insight into the direction of force that had to be applied. A twenty–minute interaction with Mr. Davis revealed to be significant for the students. This workshop has been scheduled to be conducted for a week.

The Canvas of Life

T. C. Nivedita, I Year B.A English Literature

Life takes on a different perspective,
Ways are lit by the golden glow;
Reality, the dreadful truth,
All but within hands’ reach.

All ties break away,
The clarion call echoes,
And a deafening silence ensues,
As I will my feet to move;
Paving way to where life beckons,
With a face so masked and veiled;
Knowing, destiny is but mine to create.

Pure and untouched,
Its vast expanse stretches,
White as freshly fallen snow,
The canvas, no stain does it show.

I pick up the brush,
Splash on the colours;
With gale and grandeur
Does the endless journey begin,
A tale of vibrant valiance,
Till white is but a distant past;
Ghosts of forgotten yesteryears.

Picturesque, vivid and narrative,
My whole life is sketched;
By hands now sore, charred and marred,
Till I place them down,
To take my final bow.

Misery and Miracles

Mathangi Mahesh Kumar, II Year B.A. English.

Diana waited outside the door for about ten minutes thinking whether she should knock. It wasn’t too late to change her mind and go back. But that would break Jamie. And so for ten minutes she debated whether to prepare herself to be strong or walk away and come up with a lousy apology later. She suddenly thought of Jamie and the look on his face when he had asked her and before she could change her mind, she rapped her knuckes on the door.

“Diana Phillips? Ah yes, it’s lovely to meet you at last. Do come in. Take a seat.” The man with hair as silver as the moon, led her into the living room. Her legs felt like water and anxiety chewed away inside her gut. Just as she had taken a seat, a middle aged woman with the same green eyes as Jamie’s came walking in. Her face held a kind smile. “Well you must be Diana Phillips. You look much better in person. Jamie has told us so much about you.”
The woman turned around and called out in an excited voice. “Ian! Look who’s here.” The man who entered looked so much like Jamie, with his tousled red hair and his one sided grin, that Diana felt the sudden urge to laugh. She stood up to greet him. “It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Parrish.”
“Please, call me Ian.” He said shaking her hand. He turned to his wife. “I’ll go tell Jamie she is here.”

“Would you like something to drink, my dear?” The old man, whom she figured was Jamie’s grandad, asked her politely. “Some wine, perhaps?”

Diana’s stomach sank and her smile almost faltered. Wine. What had Jamie said the first time they had talked? Something about his parents once fighting over having to buy wine every time his father’s boss came over.

Not wanting to sound rude and because of the effort they had gone to make her feel comfortable, Diana nodded with a gracious smile. “I would love some.” He walked out of the room.

At once Mrs. Parrish stared gushing. “I hope you know that Jamie has been thrilled ever since you said you’d come home to visit us. It took a lot of coaxing from his father and grandad to get him to ask you. Even rehearsed in front of the mirror.” She smiled fondly as she thought of her son. “He’s a good boy.” She says after a pause.

“I know.” Diana said with such surety that she even surprised herself.

After about five minutes of small talk and hearing a little bit of the local gossip, Diana felt more at ease in the little house with its cozy little chairs. She wasn’t that nervous anymore. Jamie’s grandpa, whom she had heard so much about over the past one year, cracked one of his baseball jokes, making Diana laugh.

It was a little over eight when Jamie finally stepped into the room. He wore formal pants and button down shirt that looked newly ironed. His messy hair was sorted out with a comb but Diana could see that it wasn’t as dense as it once was His face broke open into his one sided grin and his green eyes twinkled as he ran to her.

Diana bent down to hug him. “Hey Miss. Phillips!”

“Hi Jamie.” She laughed at his childish enthusiasm. “You look pretty handsome.”

“I know. My mamma told me.” He said in his cocky Jamie voice before grinning even widely at her. Everyone laughed at that.

“Well, come on. I’m starving. Let’s go eat.” He pulled on her hands and she stood up and followed. “Mamma made you chicken soup the way you like it.”

After dinner, Diana excused herself and locked herself in the bathroom. She didn’t look that bad. She would be lying to herself if she thought she was anything close to fine. She wasn’t. Seeing Jamie smile and talk was such a hard task. Glancing down at the floor, she almost gave a yelp. Strings of red glittered in the golden light of the bathroom. Jamie’s hair. The therapy ensured his red locks withered away. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the door. She can do this. She took a deep breath and left the bathroom.

The seven months that followed was like passing through a different level of hell. She would get news from Jamie’s parents or the Principal from time to time and each time, she would end up curling with a blanket on her couch, reading book after book until exhaustion took over. She had gotten used to walking past an empty chair in her class and grading only nineteen papers and not twenty.

The day when her life would turn around forever arrived on one dull Thursday morning, when the first of the snowflakes settled on her hair while she walked to work. She received a message. A message delivering not disaster for once but a miracle. A miracle as needed as the snow. A miracle that brought tears to her eyes. One which was too good to be true.

Another seven months later, a red haired boy walked into her class, quite late. When asked why, he flashed a smile at her and shrugged his shoulders.

Jamie still had a way with his grin.

Dracula

Nirmala Rajah Cynthia, III Year B.A. English.

When he saw he was dead-
Pushed into the dank earth- undead, but dead
For all eternity, he plunged
Into a loneliness so great…
Past words, past feeling,
Past life, past death,
Past everything that had once seemed home
That he yearned to die once more, and finally.
His wish denied him,
He poured forth all that anguish into his fangs,
Drunk their blood and got drunk on it,
Filling his hollow heart
With the once streams of life.

Lions and Mice

Pooja Krishna H. A., II Year B.A. English Literature.

When the mice roar,
Even the lions squeak
All those who had mocked
And dismissed the meek

Now scream in fear
And in terror, cower
As there happens a monumental
Shift in luck, in power.

For those who are on top
Do not always stay there
Realized the lions
As the mice invaded their lair.

Fortune favors not the well-off
Or the rich; only the brave
For you bring nothing to this world,
Take nothing to the grave.

All you power-hungry mortals,
Beware, heed my words
The ‘slaves’ are who win your battles
For you, not axes or swords

Just because you are rich
Or successful, don’t be so sure
That you’ll always be so
Don’t give in to power’s allure

One day, they will all
Rise, like dawn’s break,
Ready to take over the world,
Giving their stiff limbs a shake.

After being pushed down
For so long, after being chained,
They will rise brilliantly, like
A rainbow, after it has rained.

This is a message; a warning
To people who deem those below them ‘weak’
Remember, when mice roar,
Even lions squeak…

The-Hike-Turned-Harangue: A Look at Animal Cruelty in Chennai

Jerusha Christina Jose, III Year B. V. A. Fine Arts.

In an attempt to capture the afternoon sun’s gaze on the Marina lighthouse, my friend and I walked along the beach with our cameras in search for photo-worthy compositions. It was an extremely hot day and we immediately regretted not bringing extra water, as our supply of water had drastically depleted in the span of the last half an hour.

As we searched the line of tiny shops for water or juice, we spotted a bunch of mats, which my friend considered an interesting composition. I sat on the stone seats as my friend knelt on the ground to get a better shot. Suddenly, she nudged me to show the movement beneath the mats and out popped an adorable monkey, tied to a pole by gypsies, under the cruel Chennai sun.

After observing a series of odd behavior, my friend, who happens to be an animal enthusiast, knew the monkey was thirsty. She made up her mind to use our last few drops of water on the monkey. Knowing that monkeys are unpredictable, she gingerly held out the bottle; the monkey immediately understood her intentions and stretched out his arm to grasp the bottle.

As the scene was very heart rending, I began clicking photos of what was happening. The monkey, oblivious to the sound of the shutter and the camera, eagerly lapped the water. Holding the camera, I silently dreaded the moment he would realize the water, in fact, was all gone. As my friend tried to retrieve the bottle, the monkey held on to it for dear life. Since the gypsies arrived presently and threatened us, we were forced to leave without another chance of helping the poor critter.

By the time we managed to inform the animal activists in that area, the gypsies with their primate prisoners in tow had fled the scene.

The shocking number of cruelty cases reported daily on television, on the Internet and in newspapers is only the tip of the iceberg. Most cases are never reported, and most animal suffering goes unrecognized and unabated.

Unlike violent crimes against people, information on reported cases of animal abuse have not been compiled by state and federal agencies, making it difficult to calculate the prevalence or trends in these crimes.

With human rights, women rights, LGBTQ rights all in the cards, it seems unfair that animals have no concrete rights simply because they don’t have a voice.

I don’t want to give a fancy speech with big flamboyant words to get this message across. I just implore each and every one of you to open your hearts and lend your voice to the ones without one.

Investiture Ceremony at Stella Maris College

Sreenidhi Venkat, III B. A. English.

14th July, 2016: Stella Maris College’s annual Investiture Ceremony was held on the 14th of July at 1 pm at F-2-1. Secretary Sister Susan and the Vice Principals, Dr. Agnes Rozario and Dr. Priscilla Jebakumari presided over the event.

Sister Susan initiated the event with a prayer for the success of the office bearers in all their undertakings and then proceeded to address the gathering. She congratulated the girls, saying, “A leader is one who goes the way and shows the way.” She mentioned the importance of the girls having to set examples for others to follow and to work according to the vision and mission of the college. The speech was followed by the presentation of the badges to the office bearers by the dignitaries. The vote of thanks, proposed by Kavya Ravi, the Vice President of the Students Union, followed by the college song, concluded the event.

The club office bearers were elected to their posts at the end of the previous academic year. Bianca Joseph, President of the Western Music club, said that receiving the badge made her post and the accompanying responsibility more official. Nikita Wilson, General Secretary of the Students Union, claimed that she had heard a few office bearers mention the “prettiness” of their badges.

[Photograph Credit: Stella Maris Photography Club.]

A Prayerful Start to the Year – Inaugural Mass at Stella Maris College

Mercy Johny, II B.A. English.

15th July, 2016: Ringing in the new academic year with gratitude, Stella Maris College organised a Holy Mass on the 15th of July 2016. The students streamed into the OAT in order to assemble for the mass and settled down, eagerly waiting to listen to the sermon whilst the representatives, Deans and the Principal of the college walked in a procession holding lamps and wrapped packages containing notebooks, pens and other stationery items.

During the procession, the representatives handed over the stationery and money that were contributed by the students of each class. This charitable act was performed in order to lend a hand to those who required such necessities in the college. This was followed by a compilation of songs in Tamil, English and Malayalam. The sermon focused on promoting unity within the college as members of the same family while also highlighting the theme for the year – Create, Connect and Change, urging the students to infuse a sense of selflessness in their lives.

Book Review: Girl Up: Grow Up-And Girl Up

Uma Madhu, II Year B. A. English.

Laura Bates’ ‘Girl Up’ tells us something powerful, something game changing. It tells us to forget the rules with an audacity that defies all the notions of girlhood and womanhood that were carefully ingrained in everything we consumed. It tells us to question the absolutes. It shows us the magnitude of the misogyny that surfaces in everything from airbrushing to catcalling to assault- the misogyny that leads us to feel that life comes with caution labels to the young and the female. Bates makes it clear that she, quite rightly, isn’t going to be polite about it. She has no qualms in being honest, in being personal, in being rancid, in being explicit, in being enraged, in calling out the lies of the powerful. Where young women are told to shut their mouths and smile passively, Girl Up shouts. Where we are told to be ashamed, be abashed of our sexuality, Girl Up looks it in the eye. When we are taught to fear our bodies and treat them as “problem areas”, Girl Up teaches us to know our body, and embrace it.

This book takes feminism and sets it in the practical framework of everyday life. She provides, along with tongue in cheek “choose your adventure quizzes”, sturdy, sensible “big sister advice” on relationships, real stories of real women facing all-too-real forms of oppression and a glimpse at what feminism is and isn’t about, practical response plans, step by step guides to organizing protests and setting up a feminist platform at college, methods to respond to sexism and harassment, and resources that lead us to organizations and institutions that could lend a helping hand.

This bold, eloquent work, with illustrations of dancing vaginas and female bodies of all shapes, colors and sizes, is a celebration of girlhood, of womanhood, of female strength and solidarity. The incisive, quirky, relatable wittiness of Bates’ voice sets ‘Girl Up’ apart from other self-help books in the same vein. It may not encompass all the facets of feminism and may be limited by the age and nationality it caters to, but it is what its audience needs- a loud, pronounced, booming declaration, that it is more than okay, in fact, that it is absolutely amazing to grow up as a woman and a feminist.
After all, we need someone to tell the man’s world to “Girl Up”.

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